Toronto

Toronto nurse told by condominium to get rid of her dog because it weighs too much

Lindsay McCarthy adopted Poppy to get her through the stress she was under due to the pandemic. But now, the company that manages the condo building she lives in wants Poppy out because the dog weighs too much.

Lindsay McCarthy was given just a week to get rid of Poppy, a dog she adopted 6 months ago

Lindsay McCarthy adopted Poppy in December when she was just six months old. Since then, she says, the mixed-breed dog has been her constant companion. (Lindsay McCarthy)

A Toronto nurse is speaking out after her condo management company told her she'll have to get rid of her dog in a matter of days because the animal weighs too much. 

Lindsay McCarthy, who works at a hospital in the city, rescued Poppy in December 2020 when the dog was just six months old. She says she got a pet to help her deal with the stress she was under caring for patients during COVID-19.  

"Pandemic duties started having a psychological and emotional toll on me," she told CBC Toronto. 

"I felt profoundly lonely and felt that getting a dog would be the answer to some of my issues. My dog is my companion." 

McCarthy has been renting a unit in Quay West at Tip Top on 90 Stadium Road since 2018. The condominium has a weight limit of 30 lbs. for dogs. Poppy's weight was within the condo's limit when McCarthy adopted her, but she now weighs 47 lbs.

McCarthy was given a week's notice to remove Poppy from the condominium. (Lindsay McCarthy)

McCarthy says she received a call from her condominium concierge on June 23 asking for Poppy's weight.

"I was given only 24 hours to provide a veterinary certificate," she said.

"I was on my first vacation since the onset of the pandemic but I still got in touch with Poppy's veterinarian and shared all the information I could collect in such a short notice and the next day I received a long letter," she said.  

In that letter, which was originally sent to McCarthy's landlords on June 24 via email, the condo management company said the dog must be permanently removed from the building by July 2 or the owners may face further legal action for violating the condominium's rules.

CBC News reached out to Crossbridge Condominium Services for comment. The company responded with a written statement.

"The corporation is not in a position to discuss any matters relating to owners or residents with third parties and therefore is not able to comment," the statement reads.

Lawyers specializing in condominium law say disputes over pets are very common and they advise residents to make themselves aware of the rules when they move in. Lawyer Shawn Pulver, who is not involved in McCarthy's case, says it's difficult for condo owners and tenants to fight rules like this in court.

"This is something that under the Condominium Act is a certain discretion granted to condominium boards to pass reasonable rules that relate to items such as pets," he said. "And the courts have made it clear over the years that condos have discretion and authority to pass rules on a reasonable basis."

McCarthy says that she will not give Poppy up and is hoping to get the documents required to show that she's an emotional support dog. (Lindsay McCarthy)

But Pulver adds there are certain exceptions that may apply if the pet owner can explain why the rules should not apply to them.

McCarthy's condo, for example, does allow for service animals and she hopes that Poppy will be permitted to stay once she provides documentation from her doctor showing the dog is an emotional support companion. She says Poppy is a quiet and peaceful dog and hopes that the condo board will understand her situation.

However, McCarthy is still upset the condo management company tried to force her to get rid of her dog in the middle of the pandemic.

"Asking pets or people in the current situation to vacate a unit on such short notice is unfair," she said.

"I don't have children. I live alone and my pet is my family.".  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sneha Agrawal

Web Writer

Sneha spent six years in Indian newsrooms as a reporter, before moving to Canada in 2020. She has primarily covered courts, while also extensively reporting on humanitarian crisis, human trafficking and violation of gender rights. When not out gathering stories, she spent her pre-pandemic days trekking and stargazing in the Himalayas. Drop her an email at sneha.agrawal@cbc.ca

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